Memories of My First Fast

My father decided that I was ready to fast the year I turned ten.  We were in the Philippines that Ramadan, and a couple of my cousins – who were the same age as I was – were staying with us during that time.  So Abbu thought this was the perfect time to teach us about fasting.  My younger sister, who was eight years old, insisted on fasting as well.  So on the first Friday of Ramadan that year, the children woke up before dawn to start their first fast.  We went to school that day, and quietly sat throughout lunchtime whilst all our classmates had their meal.

When we reached home later that day, we couldn’t find our parents.  It was something very unusual since Ammi was a housewife then and was always home whenever we arrived from school.  The aunty next door came over to tell us that Ammi wasn’t feeling well so Abbu had to take her to see the doctor.  She told us to behave, then left when she heard her baby cry.  Since our parents weren’t around, we were happy that we won’t be taking our afternoon nap, and dashed outside to play hide and seek.  A couple of hours later, we were back at home and worried.  I saw the aunty peek out from her window, making sure we weren’t breaking anything, then went back to whatever she was doing.

By five in the afternoon we were all tired, thirsty, hungry, and worried.  Since Ammi wasn’t around to remind us – plus we were so engrossed in playing – we missed all our prayers that day.  Being the eldest, I decided that we break our fast.  At first we were skeptical, but decided that it was the right thing to do since we were uncertain on when our parents will return.  So an hour before iftaar, we drank water and ate dates.

Ammi and Abbu arrived shortly thereafter.

They had brought snacks and juice with them, and lots of fruits of us.  We all sat together to break the fast and offered our prayers.

Then Abbu took me to another room, where he asked me sternly on why I decided to break my fast and encouraged the other children to do the same.  Tears trickled down my cheeks as I listened to him stress on the importance of patience and perseverance during fasting, my head bowed in shame and regret.  I’ve never felt so guilty in my entire life.   I felt responsible for the broken fast of my sister and cousins as well.

Then Abbu drew me close to him and gave me a hug.

It was explained to us that day that we should ask Allah for forgiveness and make up by offering our prayers punctually and pay more attention to our Qur’an lessons.  Ammi and Abbu decided that we weren’t ready for fasting that year, and therefore paid more attention on helping us improve our prayers, and taught us more about Islam and its pillars.

We were in Karachi the following year, where I had my first complete fast.  By then I had learned its importance and virtues.  Everyone around me was fasting – that made things a lot easier.  And later that day, my grandmother arranged for a grand iftaar party for me, where I got to wear new clothes and received lots of gifts!

So the memories of my first fast isn’t really too … exciting to recall … but I’ll always remember that day, because I’ve learned the importance of Ramadan and salat, and of patience.

How was your first fasting experience?  And more importantly, what did you learn that day?

ramadan kareem

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21 Responses to Memories of My First Fast

  1. Shahrazad says:

    Interesting post.

    Slightly off note here, but I particularly like it when we remember childhood moments as such, very useful when you’re bringing up kids, you know exactly how they may feel. Those are more valuable that any SuperNanny lessons you might get!

    I cannot remember the first time, but I certainly remember sneaking to the bathroom for water when I was thirsty, not exactly flattering to recall :/

    I love Super Nanny! But then one’s own experiences teach a lot more. LOL @ sneaking into the bathroom … I think a lot of kids are guilty of that 😀

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  3. Alisha says:

    Nice memories, wish I could remember my first fast.
    In Sri Lanka children are expected to fast at the age of 6 or 7 [!] and when they complete it [Though only Allah knows whether they actually fasted- kids seem to be close to the taps during the daytime for some reason 😉 ], they give sweets wrapped in a glass bowl to all the neighbours. The neighbours are expected to give them a small reward in the form of money. 🙂
    The thing is, most of them don’t even pray regularly! Salah being the 2nd pillar of Islam, I believe parents should teach them to pray properly first.

    “kids seem to be close to the taps during the daytime for some reason” 😀

    But I love your tradition of giving sweets! And yes, salah should definitely be taught first, before letting the child fast.

  4. Humaira says:

    I have been fasting so long, I can’t remember what the fasting experience was like last year, let alone what happened during the first fast!

    I’m sure it was very uneventful as we were living in practical isolation so probably a family affair.

    But you must remember something! 🙂

  5. AD says:

    i recall my first fast and how my dadi said i cud break it by hitting a stone on my head.

    lol!

    i was so tempted to have the dessert that i actually hit a big rock on my head to break it!

    Ouch! Haha, so did you eventually have that dessert after hitting yourself? 😀

  6. Just awarded you on my blog =)

    Yay! Thank you so much *hugs* 🙂

  7. jenquest says:

    I wasn’t all that young when I started fasting here in the UK but I must admit to not remembering how it went. I do however remember my friends in school waving food under my nose (nothing malicious) when they found out I was fasting to tease me. After they got used to me fasting, they would eat their food quickly or not in my presence so as not to make me suffer. I always thought that was very nice of them.

    Aww, that was very sweet of your friends! My classmates in the Philippines used to do that a lot with me too. But like you said, they get used to the idea of fasting eventually 🙂

  8. Today is the first day of fasting – always the toughest!

    Ramadan Mubarak to all Muslims in every corner of the world 🙂

    Zero Interest Credit Cards – Halal Way to Get Money?

    Ramadan mubarak to you too! 🙂

  9. masood says:

    Interesting!

    During my kiddie days, I always want to fast and our elders make me to break fast as they feel am not ready for fasting and then when my time came for to start my first fasting, that day I felt, why this day is never ending day and had thoughts of food which are getting ready for iftar a lot. I realized it’s not a fun rather it teaches us sacrifice, tenaciousness and patience, Alhamdulillah 🙂

    LOL, yeah … I know how parents usually ask children to just fast until lunchtime, so when the children are actually required to complete the fast, they feel as if the day wont come to an end 😀

    But like you said, fasting is not fun … it’s not supposed to be. Children should learn the importance of sacrifice, commitment and patience than merely staying away from food and water.

  10. luckyfatima says:

    My first fasts were in the US as a college student after I converted. I remember breaking a fast at maghreb in the break time of a 3 hour once per week night class. No time to pray, just gobble a muffin and run back to my seat!

    But I remember the community iftars at our local mosque and also being invited to peoples’ homes for iftar during my first Ramadan. It was amazing, the sharing, the sense of community and belonging, I really enjoyed.

    Lovely to read something like your post today. Ramadan mubarak!

    Ramadan mubarak to you too, Sis! I had to break my fast once during an exam – with a candy and a bottle of water. Nice to know that you had community iftars where you lived, and you have had the opportunity to experience the joy of Ramadan with them.

  11. Very interesting and definitely good stuff to learn Nadee!

    I like it 🙂

    Prash, welcome to the blog!!! You can’t imagine this HUGE smile on my face when I saw your comment 😀

    Thank you so much for visiting! I miss you.

  12. Ramadan Mubarak to you and yours, sweet sis! 🙂 It’s such a lovely post you’ve written to kick of Ramadan!

    My first fast, I was also eight years old. My parents weren’t keen on me fasting, and I was pretty much alone. I insisted on fasting, and it was a long summer day which felt like it was going on forever! By about 4 or 5 in the afternoon, I was so hungry. I had a piece of candy that I bought at school that day, and I kept taking it out of my pocket and wishing I could eat it. Well, eventually, I cracked under the pressure of the candy 😳 and I broke my fast by biting into it. I left half of it to eat after “iftar.” My parents always insisted that I not fast the whole day if I felt really really awful…so my first fast, I “fasted” half the day. After that, I felt so bad, even though my parents didn’t scold me, that every fast I kept after that day, I kept in full, alhamdulillah.

    Not an exciting first fast, but it definitely taught me the meaning of commitment.

    Aww, I find your story very sweet! What’s more important is that you learned the value of commitment.

    PS: It’s so cute that you left half of the candy for iftar 😀

  13. My first fast was when i was 10. All my cousins had decided that we should fast for half the day as practise, so at around 12 we got together and opened our fast with lychees, 😀

    Lovely post, Nadia and Ramadhaan mubarak to you and your family 🙂

    Hehehe, that’s so cute – specially because you were all together as a team 😀

    Ramadan mubarak to you and your family!

  14. Aqeel says:

    Ramdan Mubarak. Nice post but the best thing is that you have a very nice and sharp memory. You remember all the details even at that young age. Thats really great. I remember only that when I had my first fast, it was june, a very hot and long day and then my father took me with him for shopping as well. It was extremely difficult but I kept my patience. My mother prepared me a beautiful and grand kind of iftaar. Thanks to her.

    Khair mubarak! Oh I remember it very well because of how bad I felt for breaking the fast like that. June is not an ideal month for a child who’s fasting for the first time, but then alhumdulillah for mothers who make it very special 🙂

  15. Ms.Unique says:

    Nice post! My mum made me keep my first fast when I was 6 and we were going for umrah and it was very hot too and I did cry .. but my mum wanted me to open the fast in haram … actually she didn’t know the ruling that time that kids below 7 and during traveling we aren’t supposed to fast … anyways I was too small to learn anything then …

    You were in haram to break your first fast – MashaAllah! Six is indeed a very young age to be fasting (and traveling at that). But look at you several years later, still very close to haram. I’m very jealous of you, Sis (in a nice way 🙂 ) Please remember us in your duas.

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  17. esSJee says:

    🙂 It was a lesson learnt indeed..Nice post …and I am learning to blog again after about a gap of 2 years..and a nice blog like yours have really made my day 🙂

    Thank you and welcome to the blog! Please don’t forget to leave the link to your blog so we all can visit you as well 🙂

  18. First fast, actually i don’t remember that blast from the past but still the post is appreciable that leads the one to learn the message of true fasting and its importance…
    Chao… 🙂

    And it is important that children be allowed to understand the true meaning of fasting 🙂

  19. Haleem says:

    My first fast was by accident! I was used to as a kid keeping fast for half a day – then I decided one day I was gonna complete it – and my parents didn’t know about it and found out only near the end , so they made some of my favourite dishes – but that was it!

    I should bug them for a party.

    Moral of the story: do NOT fast for the first time without telling your parents 😀

    But hey, it’s still not too late … bug them for a party!

  20. Haris Gulzar says:

    Thats a nice post. Specially the way you have put in expressions in this post make it too good.

    I don’t remember my first fast but my niece, who is almost 6 years old, is so anxious nowadays to fast with all of us. Its like even if she wakes up late, she insists on having “sehri” instead of her breakfast :-), and she takes her lunch so that she has enough power to take her to the “iftaar” and not her evening meal…

    You’re right that children should be taught about patience and salah before they’re told about fasting. And the best way to teach this to become an example for them yourself. If children will see you offering salah, keeping fasts the way they should e kept, they’ll know automatically the importance of everything…

  21. Pingback: Ramadan 2 « internal rumors

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